Encouraging Reluctant Readers: Teaching Children To Love Reading

This article discusses what to do when your child can't or won't read.

Does your child refuse to pick up a book? Does he struggle with schoolwork? Does he avoid the library? With the excitement of modern technology, more and more children are missing out on the magic of curling up with a good book. Other children grow frustrated when they can not keep up in school because of reading disabilities and give up on reading. Studies have shown that children who read do better in school and have higher scores on CAT and SAT tests. This article will provide tips and techniques that will help you to encourage your child to develop a life long love of reading.

The first thing you will need to do is to awaken a love of books in your child. Read in front of him. Books, magazines, and newspapers are all important reading materials. Now is not the time to worry about Shakespeare. Make sure you have plenty of materials around the house that your child is interested in. There are books and magazines that cover almost every topic, from animal babies to extreme sports.

However, when a child has a reading disability, the problem is bigger than a lack of interest in a topic. You need to restore badly damaged self confidence before you can help your child to learn to read better. One of the easiest ways to raise self esteem is to have your child read something he has already mastered to a younger child. There are many simple books that a child with a 1st or 2nd grade reading level can read easily. However, it is frustrating for kids to read these "baby" books to themselves. Very small children love to have someone read to them and older kids do not mind reading easier books to someone else.

Next, bring home some of the funniest books you can find. Sit down and read them aloud to yourself. Even if your child doesn't seem to be listening, he probably is. Storytelling is an old and venerable tradition that people have enjoyed for centuries and your child is no different. If you aren't sure where to begin, look for books by John D. Fitzgerald, Roald Dahl, and Barbara Robinson. These lighthearted stories are easy to read aloud. However, make sure you don't set yourself up for failure. Don't read during favorite television shows or when your child wants to go out and toss a ball around. When you stop reading, take a lesson from the serial shows on television and stop at a cliff-hanger. Your child will want to hear what the outcome of the story is. Some children will even pick the book up and try to finish on their own. If you notice your child starting to do this, get books that have an audio book with them. Your child will learn as he is following along with the audio tape in the book.

Finally, look for easy read books for older children and adults. They are a bit hard to find, but your local library should be able to help you. They are very high interest books without difficult vocabularies and the stories are not geared toward young children.

As you work with your child, don't expect immediate success. Remember that children cannot learn when they feel that they are stupid. They often do not even try because they have learned that failure makes them feel bad. If they don't try to learn, they cannot fail. You need to overcome these feelings and set them up to succeed at something. It's kind of like priming a siphon-once they get started, you will be able to encourage them to continue to learn, though it may be a very slow process.

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